Maharashtra governor K Sankaranarayanan resigned on Monday after the Centre transferred him to Mizoram late Saturday night, saying it wasn’t possible for him to go to the northeastern state.
The home ministry order — issued past midnight — asked newly-appointed Gujarat governor OP Kohli, a BJP veteran, to officiate in place of Sankaranarayanan till a new person was given charge. The veteran Congressman’s tenure as Maharashtra governor would have ended in 2017.
The 82-year-old Congress leader accused the Narendra Modi government of devaluing constitutional positions and said he had never played politics as governor. “Posts like President and vice-president should remain above politics. No government is bigger than democracy and the sanctity of the post should be maintained,” said the outgoing governor. He resigned barely three hours before Kohli’s swearing-in ceremony but insisted he hadn’t been humiliated by the transfer order.
Sankaranarayanan is the ninth UPA-appointed governor to either quit or be sacked. His resignation comes three days after the Supreme Court issued a notice to the Centre on a complaint by Uttarakhand governor Aziz Qureshi, who said he was being threatened to quit by home secretary Anil Goswami.
After the Modi government was sworn in, Sankaranarayanan was one of the first UPA-era governors to get a call from Goswami, asking him to put in his papers. The outgoing Maharashtra governor was in the NDA’s bad books over his decisions of denying permission to the CBI to prosecute then chief minister Ashok Chavan in the Adarsh housing society scam.
The Congressman, however, stayed on, prompting the Centre to pressurize him to quit. In one such attempt, a grievance petition against the 82-year-old -- alleging irregularities in appointments of vice-chancellors – was sent at great speed to the home ministry, with the law ministry advising Goswami to take appropriate action.
The outgoing governor has decided to plunge back into active politics from Monday.”From Monsday, I shall have no restrictions, I can do whatever I want, go wherever I want and speak on any topic,” he said. “I started as a grass-root level politician, and I know only that work. I’m happy.” He had been appointed Maharashtra governor in 2010 after stints in Jharkhand and Nagaland.
The resignation evoked strong responses from the Congress. “It is sad that the government issues transfer orders late at night. This politics of hatred will mar our country’s democratic set-up,” state party chief Manikrao Thakre told HT.
State BJP president Devendra Fadnavis, however, said the Congress was politicizing administrative matters such as transfer of governors.